Convincing Asian Men to Marry Early

Getting guys to want to marry early is a tough sell. It's kind of like being in a door-to-door encyclopedia salesman in the 21st century. You're marketing a product that is antiquated, over-priced, and irrelevant.

It's an almost impossible proposition for non-Christian men since our hook-up culture sells sex cheap and our divorce culture makes marriage expensive.

It's a better bargain for women since early marriage avoids unique disadvantages (subject of a future post).

It's somewhat more attractive to devout Christians since we don't consider sex outside of marriage as a viable option.

I'm also guessing there are some cultural obstacles that make marriage unappealing to Asian American Christian men. I'm not sure what exactly those are but I've hinted at some possibilities

Given all this, I do believe marrying early is a good thing for men. I got married a month after I turned 23. It hasn't always been fun or easy but overall, it's been an amazing ride the past 15 years. Here are three reasons (in ascending order of importance) why I tied the knot and why I would recommend early marriage to other men, especially millennial Asian American Christian men.

1) Transformation

Singleness not marriage is the best context for spiritual growth. It's weird to write that because it's rarely taught. But Paul in 1 Corinthians 7:32-34 makes it quite clear. Married people are distracted by worldly affairs. Single people aren't hindered by relationship drama.

Having said that, marriage is still a great context for transformation. It offers a unique opportunity for men to express commitment and responsibility. Marriage is like that saying about sports. Sports don't build character, they reveal it. Marriage doesn't change men, it tests them. God changes men through the crucible of lifelong commitment and intimacy.

Transformation means character growth. It does not equate to happiness. I don't think marriage makes people happier. I know Judy wasn't happy the first few years of our marriage. I didn't want to spend time with her. I felt nervous and anxious being around her. All that 24-7 intimacy freaked me out. At any point, I felt as if she would discover that I was a fraud; that how I had portrayed myself before the wedding was all an elaborate ruse to trick her into marrying me.

Looking back, I think I liked the idea of marriage more than the practice. It took me awhile - maybe ten years or so - but now I like the practice too. God changed me. I'm a little less selfish than before but more than anything, I'm keenly aware of how selfish I am.

2) Sex

Men go through puberty around 15 years old and if you're the average Asian guy who happens to be a chaste Christian, you won't be getting any for the next 15 years. That's plenty of time to nurture a vigorous porn habit (unfortunately, this is also seems to be the plight of many married men as well - also the subject of another post). 

I wanted to get married early because I wanted to have sex. This appears to be biblical (1 Corinthians 7:9). God made sex. Sex is good. At this point, there will be no personal examples.

3) Fatherhood

This is the most compelling reason for why I wanted to get married sooner than later. As a kid, I dreamed about becoming a dad. I thought about all the things I would do with my boys (I never imagined having a daughter - little girls bugged the heck out of me). I dreamed about teaching manly stuff, going backpacking, doing sports together, all that.

I'm living that dream today. 

I went swimming this afternoon with Abby and Elliot. Elliot is almost five years old. I threw him up in the air and after he came up out of the water, he thrust both fists in the air and yelled "AWESOME!" in his squeaky voice. And then begged me to do it again. AWESOME he yelled again. That kid is so fun. 

On Saturday, I took Caleb to a soccer game in Carmel. A mom commented that she loved watching him play. So do I. He had this one move where he played the ball behind his back to the left while faking right. It was sick. 

I'm teaching Micah how to throw a ball, something I wished my dad had taught me. He keeps it too close to his head and kinda pushes it. But Micah actually enjoys throwing with me and it's like a scene out of some Kevin Costner movie with a white dad throwing a baseball with his son. I love that stuff.

And Abby has this habit where she comes over and gives me like 6-7 little hugs while I'm trying to brush her teeth. It's just so sweet, affectionate, and random like her.

I love being healthy enough to launch my youngest child out of the water. If we had further delayed having children, it's difficult to imagine that we would have four children. It was never our plan to have this many kids as Judy was never particularly enthusiastic about the children. But God has blessed us so much in spite of what we thought we wanted.

And as far as marriage is concerned, you cannot convince me that there is a better context for raising children than a married mother and father. My wife and I make an amazing parenting team (she thinks we're just "OK"). We kick ass. I do crazy, dumb things and Judy keeps everything from falling apart. Marriage makes families and families keep civilization going.


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  2. I believe the biological reason is most compelling for why we should marry earlier than the average age in today's society. We've delayed unnecessarily and unnaturally for what God has embedded into our genetics, both as men and women. And I'd add that the people needing convincing is not so much the Asian men, it is the Asian parents that need much persuasion.

    1. DJ, totally agree with you on this. Biology also has asymmetrical consequences between men and women. Men can delay marriage and struggle with lust but women who delay marriage and childbearing risk even more. I see your point about Asian parents (by which I think you mean immigrant parents) but given who might read this blog, I want to focus on my peers and the emerging generations - who don't have to follow how their parents lived and what their parents advised.

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  5. Wow the spammers have really hit your blog! haha...

    This is SBAG again... my issue with Evangelical pestering about marriage is this... What if a single Asian Guy CAN'T get married? What if he lives somewhere far from San Francisco or New York City, and feels called to witness where he's living, but the few Conservative Evangelical women there deflect his attempts to initiate friendship, much less his attempts at flirting?

    I live in a rust belt region of New York where there aren't very many eligible, single, conservative, Christian women around. Non-Asian Christian men encounter difficulty in finding wives around here, and being Asian compounds the situation. The local churches in my county are stuck in the "marry by 18" mentality, and scoff at the idea of the national average marital age being above 27.

    Basically, being a single Christian in your 20s is more wrong than getting divorced and re-married. I know because I hear Christians nag me about being single while in the same breath scoffing at a church for enacting discipline for a frivolous divorce... while later celebrating the same divorced people for re-marrying to someone that isn't their ex.

    So I left the local church after my loyalty of 10 years. I had brought it [their acts of discrimination and harassment] up to my peers and the leaders, and they simply shrug or disbelieve/minimize the challenges I encounter. They won't even help with my "singleness affliction" by praying for my "future wife" or talking me up to the women in the church.

    So what should an Asian-American guy do? Should he continue to push the rock of Sisyphus because the Christendom is annoyed with his singleness? Should he despair because he's in his 30s and couldn't get married due to issues that are outside of his control? Is it a sin for him to delay the "goal" of marriage if it's currently infeasible? Is it okay for a Christian man to "wait" for someone suitable before getting married, or should he just dive in with anybody that has double-X chromosomes?

    1. I hope you saw my reply to your earlier comment. I don't know your region but I'm not surprised by the discrimination against singleness. Conservative evangelical culture (of which I am a part of) is biased towards marriage and childbearing so I'm not surprised by the discrimination against singleness. The good thing, as a guy, is your sexual market value will peak around 35 years of age and possibly later if you keep working on yourself so there is no immediate rush. Don't let yourself be shamed by others. So keep working on your game and either 1) find a church or venue (missions conferences, etc.) that are more receptive to single people OR 2) move to a bigger city if you truly believe marriage is your calling and the prospects are too dim where you are. Write me more: fredtmok at gmail dot com


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